We are heading towards the 2017 Assembly elections in politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. The outcome will be pivotal in context of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. As Uttar Pradesh is a tough state to comprehend as it has so many complex issues. Psephologists, however, are out there to predict results. BJP, the ruling party at the Centre, is expected to win 170-183 seats whereas Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is likely to be the runner-up with 115-124, according to the India Today-Axis Opinion Poll. While the ruling dispensation in the state Samajwadi Party will mange to win 94-103, Congress is projected to secure mere 8 to 12 constituencies, poll shows. Going by the survey, the verdict is likely to throw a hung Assembly in the elections which is due in less than six months. In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly, a party must get 202 seats to form a majority government.
As per the opinion poll, BJP has gain tremendous footfall interms of seats if one compare it to their perfance in the 2012 assembly elections in which they managed to win 47 constituencies. But the party was buoyant after virtually sweeping the state in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party is pushing hard to be the king not the king maker. However, as per this survey they are so near yet so far to achieve that status. Here are a few factors which may dent BJP’s chance of ruling the Uttar Pradesh.
1. BJP’s anti-Dalit image:
A series of anti-Dalits incidents across the country might haunt BJP as it seeks to break Mayawati’s traditional vote-bank. The poll shows that an overwhelming 71 per cent of the Dalit respondents indicated that they would be voting for the BSP.
2. Lack of popular CM face:
Projection of a Chief Ministerial figure is very crucial for any party. According to the poll, BJP is found wanting in this area. While 31 per cent of respondents wanted Mayawati as their Chief Minister, 27 per cent were satisfied with incumbent Akhilesh Yadav. Surprisingly, just one percent wanted to see Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh as the chief minister. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has also been a former Chief Minister of the state, and his firebrand colleague in the BJP, Yogi Adityanath, are at 18 and 14 per cent respectively.
3. ‘Congress-mukt’ campaigm not clicking:
BJP under Amit Shah has been pitching for a “Congress-free India”. However, the survey shows 54 per cent said they do not agree with this idea. Only 29 per cent of the respondents backed the BJP while 17 per cent were not sure.
4. Development not communal agenda:
An Whopping 88 per cent believe development will be the main issue in the upcoming elections. The contentious issues of Ram temple in Ayodhya or cow protection garnered three and one per cent approval respectively. Nine per cent of the respondents said the performance of the Modi government is the biggest BJP issue for them.
5. Bundelkhand and Central UP may hurt BJP:
Regional sub-plots generally play crucial role in Uttar Pradesh elections. The survey shows positive indication for BJP. The party is leading in Eastern and Western Uttar Pradesh but the Samajwadi Party has a narrow lead in Central UP or Awadh. In under-developed Bundelkhand, Mayawati’s BSP holds a pole position. In Central UP, the SP bags 29 per cent of the vote, while the BSP comes in second with 28 per cent vote and the BJP third at 26 per cent. However, in Eastern UP, the BJP has a strong lead with a projected vote share of 33 per cent which is five percent more than that of the BSP, which is projected to bag 28 per cent of the votes in this region. The SP is projected to bag 22 per cent of the votes in Eastern UP.